D day-4

Today, it just hit me…

“Enjoy speaking French while you can girl…” a little voice told me.

I should indeed. Because in four days, not only will I be surrounded by Danish (which was my will to start with, no complaining here!), but when I’ll need a time off, it won’t be in my good old French slippers… No, no, no… My only hideout will be English.

And the last time I had to spend weeks not speaking French (except to myself, but that is another story) was in North Carolina, more than 15 years ago…

I’m kind of happy I had that thought today.

Just saying…

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D day-5

This morning I woke up with a tender stomach, but all other symptoms I was experiencing yesterday night were gone, thank God!

I had a lot to do… And, although I didn’t get to take care of all I wanted to get done, I am happy with myself!

I went shopping, for a few knick knacks, and for gifts for my future hosts. It wasn’t easy, because I don’t have much place to carry them, but I hope they’ll be nice souvenirs from the crazy girl from Canada.

Back home, I finished the lists I had started… I am not very fond of lists, but it was a total must, in order not to forget anything… I only have 4 days to go, after all! I listed my clothes, my hygene and medical items, my electronic and entertainment stuff, my gifts, the documents I have to carry and what I had left to do…

I washed everything I am going to pack. Tomorrow, I’ll test-pack again to see what the scale has to say about it. I wish I didn’t have to be at work at 5 O’clock, but I only have 3 days of work left, so I can live with it 😉

Time to rest a little…

D day-6

This one will be short…

Yesterday night, after my evening shift, I got back home at midnight as usual. I had a few stomach cramps, but nothing too worrying.

Until arround 2am, when it hit me… From nowhere, I started being sick. And it was particularly intense and constant. Every 20 minutes or so, all night long, I had to visit the bathroom.

In the morning, I hadn’t slept much, and I obviously had a fever flash, because the little sleep that I got was filled with delirious dreams in which I was trying to solve intricate puzzles…

I had to take a day off work, still being sick and dizzy during the day (and not wanting to share this with co-workers if it was contagious) and I spent my afternoon wrapped in a blanket, trying to wrap up as much online preparation as possible.

I feel like I’ve kind of lost a day, but at least, I didn’t get sick just before getting on the plane!

I hope things are better tomorrow. I have some shopping to do (for my future hosts’ little thank you gifts and some other knick knacks) and I have to work on my packing!

6 days to go… Can’t wait to come meet you Denmark 🙂

D day-7

One week to go…

I can’t believe that in a week, I will finally be on my way to Denmark… For real!

 

These days, it is all about lists, and lists of lists… What to do, what to get, what to prepare, information I have to gather… It is a bit hectic, working, dealing with everyday chores, and planning all this, but it is getting more and more exciting as the days roll by.

 

Accomplishments of the week…

Hosts searching:

Out of the 9 cities I will visit, people from 4 of them have agreed to let the crazy Canadian Turtle in their lovely homes!! I will not drop names without permission, but

Tusind tak til dig, søde venner og venninder i Aalborg, Viborg, Odense og Sønderborg!!

(A thousand thanks to my friends in Aalborg, Viborg, Odense and Sønderborg! – Well, soon to be friends anyway!! )

I have requests pending for Copenhagen and the Island of Møn… So things are going very well!

 

Other very good news! I now officially have a phone waiting for me… I have my phone number and all!! Wow! This is getting real!

 

Tomorrow I have to concentrate a little bit on paperwork that need to be done even if it is dull… Letting know my bank I’ll be abroad, gathering information like Canadian Embassy’s number, making myself a list of important and useful phone numbers and addresses… And such stuff!

When things get a little stressful, I sit back and tell myself that all I REALLY need fits in one hand:

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And I have it. So what could go wrong now? J

D day -14

With less than two weeks to go, and eleven days of work to kill, it is really starting to smell like the final countdown… Europe style final countdown, you know?

I have started getting responses to my Couch hunting, which is encouraging.

My schedule is ready, although still flexible. I won’t post it, because I want to keep a little mystery. I have never been one to reveal too much about my whereabouts in the past, and I guess that’s just something that won’t change overnight.

To those of you worried to see me hit the road alone, Ib and Pippa will be aware of where I am and am going through the weeks. And I will have a cellphone to call for a little help if I ever need to. I know I’ll never be able to take the worries off your minds, but I hope you know I am not going to put myself in dangerous situations.

I have decided to fully pack my backpack next wednesday and live out of it for my last week in Québec. I’ve never been very organized when it comes to luggage when I travel.  I pack just fine at first, but things can easily turn ugly. If I don’t want to take everything out and re-pack every 2 or 3 days and go crazy, I have to be prepared. A little practice couldn’t hurt.

Yeah… Yeah… I feel boring tonight. It happens sometimes, I guess.

Sorry about that one, I’ll try to make preps more interesting next time!

 

 

D day -15

It is said that it takes 21 days for any person put in a new situation, to lose his or her points of reference to embrace the new reality completely.

I found that interesting tonight. I realized that was exactly what I was about to do with Denmark…

I am not foolish enough to think I’ll come back fluent in Danish, or with a complete understanding of the Danish way of life, but I believe it will be a fulfilling experience overall.

I did my first practice at packing up tonight. I am allowed 25 pounds and although I know I haven’t done a thorough job for my first attempt, I am still just at 15. Needless to say that I am pretty happy with myself… And as my brother told me, I need to keep some space and weight to bring back a few souvenirs!

My schedule is almost set, and I will be visiting 9 cities in total. I hope you’ll follow me, because it is the point of this blog, after all…

Two weeks, and I’ll be embarking this adventure. Two weeks… Just 14 days to go.

Fjorten dage…

 

 

D day -27

Today has been pretty quiet preparation-wise.

I had other things to do, and it was my last day off work for a while. I had to stock on some energy for the week to come.

But I didn’t want to leave a blank page in my trip’s book, so I just wanted to take the time to thank two very special people. I am not a name dropper, so we’ll just call them Pippa and Ib.

Pippa is the sweetest girl I know. We met via the Internets over a year ago, and we’ve stayed in contact ever since. She lives on Fyn Island, in Denmark, and she is my first Danish friend. I feel lucky for having crossed her path, every day. She is caring, understanding, and an incredible artist on so many levels… She helped me greatly with my Danish, and thought me countless things about her home country. I don’t realize yet that next month, we’ll meet in person. We haven’t spoken live yet, and have chatted on messenger only a few times, sticking to our epistolary friendship. I wish everybody knew a Pippa, because she is the kind of person who can light up your day with her good words!

Ib lives in Jutland. We also met through the Internets, but through blogging. Although we’ve only been exchanging for a few months, we quickly built a special connexion. Ib was not born in Denmark, but he has lived most of his life over there. He is an incredible storyteller, that can make a soar foot interesting. He would say I am biased, but through the weeks, he keeps surprising me with his endless imagination, clever writing, playful ways and twisted ideas. Ib is one of the most thoughful people I’ve had the pleasure to know. It could look like nothing destined us to be friends, and that time, distance and the likes would have kept us from developing a friendship, but it makes him just that much more special… Ib is helping me a lot with my trip preparation, and I can’t wait to thank him in person!

I’ll soon meet them both, and it is heartwarming that although I’ll spend most of my traveling by myself, I’ll know that they will be close by all the way.

Pippa… Ib… Thank you for making a place for me in your lives!

Jeg er en heldig kartoffel!

 

D day -28…

Four weeks…

I don’t quite realise it yet… For years now, I’ve been dreaming about it.
In four weeks, I am leaving Montreal to visit Denmark…

Twenty one days of walking around, meeting people, visiting places, living with and like the locals. Twenty one days of trying to master the basics of Danish. I am not naïve, I know I won’t be fluent when I come back, but I hope to be able to improve the vocabulary and grammar I’ve been working on for about two years now.

And before that, twenty eight days to get prepared.

It seems like a long period of time, but D day will come fast. And there is a lot to do. I decided to travel light, very light, carrying only a backpack, and using Couchsurfing as much as possible. For economic reasons, obviously, but also for the experience.

Today, it was time for me to have my passport renewed. It was still good until August 24th. But Denmark asks that foreigners visiting the country have a passport valid 3 months after the planned date of departure to come back home. And in my case, that meant it had to be valid until August 25th. One day! I had to renew my passport for one day! But that’s ok, it will be good for 10 years now!

I was planning on trying my brand new walking shoes. Yeah, last Monday, I treated myself with a pair of Merrell half walking half trekking shoes. But it seems winter isn’t done with us, because we were expecting a snow storm in the late afternoon. So much for my new-shoes tryout! Instead, I put on my winter boots and headed to the pharmacy to have my picture taken.

Passport pictures are quite a deal here. The number of rules for a valid picture is numbing. No make up, no jewelry, no glasses, no smiling… Sometimes, I wonder how custom agents recognize travelers. At least, the person who took care of my passport mugshot was competent, and after a short wait, I was on my way to the passport bureau.

There again, things were smooth and fast. A quick check of my form and pictures, and the payment for the 10 years good passport, and I was out of the building. Now I just have to wait for it to be dropped in my mailbox.

On my way back home, I stopped in a souvenir store. Being downtown, those stores are many, and I bought some patches I’ll sew on my backpack. I got two Canadian flags, and two fleur-de-lis to represent Quebec.

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I plan on buying similar patches along my trip. I just hope there will be some city patches, otherwise, I would only have Danish flags to sew… I guess I’ll have to keep my fingers crossed.

I also got myself a micro SD card adapter to be able to transfer easily pictures taken during the day on my tablet in the evening. This way, I’ll be able to post pictures here, every now and then.

So that’s it for today… I know things are not exciting for the moment. But I like the thought of having a log of my preparation as well as the trip itself.

28 days left… soon only 27!